With the Moto3, Moto2, and MotoGP championships wrapped up earlier than expected, the fans will be disappointed to learn that there will be no final race showdown in Valencia this weekend. However, they can take comfort in the fact that the riders will be as motivated as ever.
Valencia will be the last race for Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo on board the Yamaha. Also, Italian rider Andrea Iannone’s final race for Ducati, and Spain’s Maverick Vinales will be riding the Suzuki for the final time. Lorenzo will replace Iannone, Vinales will take Lorenzo’s vacated seat, and Iannone will take over Vinales’ seat at Suzuki. Moto2 will say goodbye to newly crowned French rider Johann Zarco. Also, German rider Jonas Folger, British rider Sam Lowes, and Spanish rider Alex Rins. Graduating from Moto3 will be Italian rider Francesco Bagnaia, South Africa’s Brad Binder, and Italian rider Enea Bastianini. At the end of the 2016 MotoGP season, et’s not go too far into the future. Back to the present we go.
The 2016 MotoGP Season Signs Off in Style
The Autodromo Ricardo Tormo Circuit is an anti-clockwise circuit. The bike races down the long straight and brakes hard for the first left hand turn. A number of riders have been caught out at this tricky turn and crucial errors at this corner have decided races. Accelerating out of Turn One we have another short straight and hard on the anchors for the hairpin at Turn Two. Getting a good exit is imperative here for the rider and he heads into Turn Three, a slight kink and on the brakes again for the first right-hander, which leads into another right-hander at Turn Four and Turn Five.
Hard on the brakes for the Left handed Turn Six and entering a sequence of corners at Turns Seven, Eight, and Nine. The rider then meets a nearly 90 degree right-handed turn at Turn 10 and a small right hand kink at Turn 11 before flicking it left for the long Turn 12 and hard on the brakes in the middle of the corner at Turn 13. This corner has decided a number of races. Fun Fact: Back in 2012 Maverick Vinales dived down the inside of Alex Rins and Enea Bastianini to win the race and the championship at that final corner.
Spanish rider Aron Canet qualified on pole position, flanked by South Africa’s Binder and Japan’s Hiroki Ono. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, it was heartbreak when the bike stalled on the grid, moments before the lights went out. This meant that the youngster had to start from the pit lane. Binder and Ono were promoted and the new rider on the front row was Italy’s Nicolo Bulega. As the race began, Bulega and Ono struggled off the line and soon dropped down the order to finish 17th and 21st respectively. Argentinian rider Gabriel Rodrigo had a huge high side and Italian rider Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia was the innocent victim of the resulting accident.
After running pretty high up the order, Italy’s Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Spain’s Marcos Ramirez dropped into the gravel. Binder seized a dominant victory with Spanish rider Joan Mir in P2 and Italian rider Andrea Migno in P3.
Other Points Finishers
- Italian Gresini duo of Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio
- Spain’s Juanfran Guevara, Jorge Navarro, Jorge Martin, and Raul Fernandez
- Czech Republic’s Jakub Kornfeil
- Germany’s Philipp Oettl
- South Africa’s Darryn Binder
- The Netherland’s Bo Bendsneyder
- France’s Fabio Quartararo
- Belgium’s Livio Loi
Newly crowned world champion Zarco qualified on pole position for his final Moto2 race. Swiss rider Tom Luthi and Italian rider Franco Morbidelli joined the Frenchman on the front row. Morbidelli proved to be a formidable opponent as he vied for his maiden Moto2 victory. His challenge would soon fade off and Zarco cleared off into the distance. Luthi initially conserved his tires and mounted a late challenge for the win. However, it was too late as the Frenchman was too far up the road. Zarco lead from start to finish. Luthi and Morbidelli finished in the same order that they started the race.
Other Points Finishers
- British riders Sam Lowes and Danny Kent
- Spanish riders Alex Rins and Xavi Vierge
- Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami
- Italian riders Mattia Pasini, Simone Corsi, and Lorenzo Baldassari
- German riders Jonas Folger and Marcel Schrotter
- Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira who was back after recovering from injury
- Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin
Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo shattered the lap record on his way to pole position, on his final race for Yamaha. Joining him on the front row was compatriot and reigning world champion Marc Marquez and Italian legend Valentino Rossi. New to the grid was Finnish rider Mika Kallio who was testing the brand new KTM bike, which is scheduled to enter the sport in 2017.
When the race started, Lorenzo was off like a bullet and never looked back. Behind him, the action was unfolding. Marquez, Rossi, Spanish rider Maverick Vinales, Italian rider Andrea Iannone, and his teammate and compatriot Andrea Dovizioso fought behind the leader. Spanish rider Dani Pedrosa and British rider Cal Crutchlow both failed to see the chequered flag. It was particularly disappointing for Pedrosa because he had just returned from injury. Marquez soon broke away from the chasing pack and began to set his sights on Lorenzo, but it was too late because Lorenzo completed his Yamaha swan song and Marquez ended up less than a second behind him. Iannone seized the final podium spot in his Ducati swansong.
Other Points Finishers
- Italian rider Valentino Rossi, and Danilo Petrucci
- Spanish riders Pol Espargaro, Andrea Dovizioso, Aleix Espargaro, Maverick Vinales, Alvaro Bautista, and Hector Barbera.
- British riders Bradley Smith and Scott Redding
- German rider Stefan Bradl
- Australian rider Jack Miller
Review and Preview
The 2016 season saw nine different winners and some stellar drives from the back of the grid and almost saw the Moto2 championship go down to the wire. This season was full of thrills and excitement. The 2016 MotoGP season was not without its emotional moments as the fraternity lost Spanish rider Luis Salom in Barcelona earlier this year. This prompted the FIM to revert to the Formula One layout. With all said and done, the 2016 season kept fans on the edge of their seats. Now, all eyes are set on the 2017 MotoGP season.